Tänak Claims Stage Victory on Day 1 of Rally Portugal
Ott Tänak claimed the last stage of the first day of Rally de Portugal on Thursday, rising to fourth place in the event's standings.
“I’m quite happy. Of course I’m not so happy with the middle stage because we made a bit of a stupid mistake there. We forgot the lights because it was pretty light at the start of the stage and then it was getting too dark and I was thinking something is missing!” Tänak said in an M-Sport press release. “Ok, this stage [SS3] wasn’t the best, but we won the last stage [SS4] which was our first proper stage win, so that was nice.”
Tänak’s decision to take an early slot in the racers' order paid off because heavy rain followed soon after his run. Jari-Matti Latvala, who led the rally on Thursday, could only manage the fourth quickest time after Tänak in the last stage due to the rain.
“For us, it was really dry on the first stages so we had to do a bit of cleaning. But then it started to rain which changed the conditions quite a lot,” said Tänak. “Overall I think our starting position wasn’t too bad. But I also think there wasn’t a perfect starting position for today. In the first stages it was better to be behind, but in the last ones, for sure it was better to be out in front.”
Heading into the second day, Tänak was 10.7 seconds adrift of the podium and 15.7 seconds from rally leader Latvala.